SaraDay Evans, the CEO and Founding Director of Accelerating Appalachia, is a sixth-generation Kentuckian with over 20 years of experience supporting communities and small businesses across the southeast. Her remarkable work in economic development, entrepreneurship, and environmental protection has leveraged over $270 million in funding and served more than 300 communities in the southeast and central-southern Appalachian region. SaraDay was honored with a U.S. Presidential commendation for her clean water efforts, specifically benefiting women in Appalachian Kentucky.

With degrees in Geology/Hydrogeology from the University of Kentucky and further studies in Water Law at the University of Missouri, SaraDay has led groundbreaking initiatives. She played a key role in developing Kentucky’s groundwater protection programs and securing funding for solid waste management. Additionally, she spearheaded North Carolina’s 21st Century program, revitalizing production and manufacturing in textiles, farming, and wood products. In 2013, SaraDay launched Accelerating Appalachia, a globally recognized organization driving regenerative and equitable development. Her lifelong Echoing Green fellowship, alongside individuals like Michelle Obama and her Common Future fellowship, attests to her exceptional leadership. SaraDay’s multifaceted journey also encompasses her passion for music, where she captivates audiences as a singer/songwriter and guitarist. Her profound impact continues to shape a brighter future for communities, regional businesses, and the environment.